Broadcast of beacon messages including geographic coordinates, node speeds, and directions are among the most commonly used methods in routing protocols of VANETs to obtain neighboring positions. Broadcast of periodic beacon messages in fixed time intervals will reduce network performance due to increased channel load and contention. In this paper, an adaptive update strategy for sending beacon messages according to the VANETs' characteristics (position, speed, and direction) and the nature of broadcast wireless channel in an opportunistic routing strategy is studied. It is based on two rules: 1) an estimation of the lifetime of the links between vehicles' beacon messages are sent after the expiration of the estimated time to inform their local topology and 2) if the forwarding set of consecutively received data packets is changed, a beacon message is sent to maintain the accuracy of the topology. The simulation results show that the proposed strategy significantly reduces the cost of routing and improves network performance in terms of packet-delivery ratios, average end-to-end delay, and routing overhead.
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